This is the major label debut for the Central Florida pop-rock stalwarts, Anberlin. The new album features 13 tracks that further expand on Anberlin's signature sound. Stephen Christian's distinct vocals backed by Joseph Milligan and Christian McAlhaney's driving guitars and the rhythm section comprised of Deon Rexroat and Nathan Young on bass and drums respectively is the foundation for the band's success.
New Surrender, produced by Neal Avron (Fall Out Boy, Yellowcard, New Found Glory), demonstrates the band's natural progression as musicians as well as solidifying their place as some of music's most creative songwriters. With all out rockers like "Feel Good Drag" and "Blame Me! Blame Me!" to the introspective "Still Counting Backwards," Anberlin have created a record that is sure to propel the band to the next level. Universal Republic signed the band off of the success of their highly lauded breakthrough indie pop scorcher, Cities. The record debuted on Billboard's Top Albums chart in February 2007 at #19, and passed the coveted 100,000 indie-sales milestone fueled by their riveting hit single "Godspeed."
It has been Anberlin's emotive pop/rock chemistry that has excited fans and critics ever since their Polk County, FLA launch six years ago, rising through the indie ranks with a magnetic collection of releases on Tooth & Nail Records, including their memorable 2003 debut Blueprints For The Blackmarket. Their 2005 release, Never Take Friendship Personal, saw them gain even more indie traction, (the band has logged combined album sales of more than 400,000 albums) with the single "Paperthin Hymn" peaking in the Top 40 of the Modern Rock Radio chart. Their touring, coupled with a loyal myspace following, cemented their reputation as one of the bands to watch in 2007. Anberlin delivered on that with the celebrated Cities. Cited by many critics as indispensable to the modern rock scene, rock forecasters have bookmarked their upcoming album New Surrender as one of the truly viable indie-to-major success stories ready to blow in 2008.
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Blame Me! Blame Me!
The Feel Good Drag
Burn Out Brighter (Northern Lights)
Miserabile Visu (Ex Malo Bonum)
Heavier Things Remain (Graviora Manent) [iTunes Bonus Track
The Unwinding Cable Car (Acoustic Version) [Walmart Bonus Track]
AN EMOTIONAL CROSSOVER SURE TO YIELD SUPERSTARDOM| Posted November 24, 2008
Though Anberlin always had a foot in the secular scene (frequently performing in clubs and becoming staples on the “Vans Warped Tour”), the modern rockers are now part of the major label leagues, making the jump from indie staple Tooth & Nail to Universal Republic. Outside of giving the guys worldwide exposure, signing on the dotted line also made way for all-star producer Neal Avron (Fall Out Boy, Yellowcard, New Found Glory), in turn finding Stephen Christian & Co. at the top of their game.
Even with the marketplace shift, Anberlin is arguably more expressive about its faith than ever before but interjects stories of spiritual inspiration with remarkably effective poetry and phrasing, which works well with any audience. “Burn Out Brighter (Northern Lights”) boasts lines like “Live, I want to live inspired/I want to die for something/Higher than myself” over an insanely catchy guitar line and Christian’s sky-high, Morrissey-like range. “Breathe” is a textbook acoustic ballad, sending chills through listeners with every epic twist and phrase of renewal (“Can’t return home who I was before/I can finally breathe/Suddenly alive”).
The anthems keep coming at breakneck speed, from the forceful and striking “The Resistance” to the entrancing “Blame Me! Blame Me!” to the lush melodic relief of “Retrace.” The childhood recollection of “Younglife” is artfully spun pop candy. “Haight Street” is a vibrant dance rocker in all its hand-clapping glory, while “Disappear” is the new wave era re-spun with Anberlin’s increasingly distinctive alternative quality. Long story short, New Surrender is hands-down one of 2008’s most essential albums to own and is sure to position Anberlin as much deserved cross-cultural superstars. –Andy Argyrakis
This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from CMCentral.com. Click here to visit CMCentral.com today!
The Resistance is Breaking on Haight St.| Posted October 02, 2008
Anberlin has carved a great notch in the musical tree over the years, and have created quite a fanbase in the process. But all magnificent trees must change their leaves, so Anberlin was faced with the prospect of following up their perceived masterpiece known as "Cities," and they're making their major label debut. What color do the leaves turn? Burning orange? Flaming red? Kentucky blue? Well, this tree's leaves have all three colors.
For the more hardcore alternative emo side, or "classic" side of Anberlin, you'll be well-served at the beginning of the record where Steven Christian feels the need to scream in the hardcore "The Resistance." "Breaking" and "Blame Me! Blame Me!" will also feel familiar to fans. But then "Retrace" gives a hint of what's to come with a more mellow yellow summer love song, which hits some excellent high points on the chorus.
Chances are you've heard "Feel Good Drag" before, whether it be from their earlier take on the song a few albums ago, or rock radio, where the song has achieved monumental success, currently being the #1 song on Sirius Radio's Alt Nation Countdown. The song hits hard, gets your blood pumping and it is irresistible to turn the volume up to unhealthy volumes. The rock fest only continues on the rousing, but generally unmemorable "Disappear."
It's here where you might say, "Where's the Anberlin I knew???" The songs on the back-half of the record are more laid-back, softer, more acoustic based, and they generally deal with a love for that special someone. "Breathe" is probably the best of these tracks, with its sweet lyrics, and music that would fit right into a powerful and moving worship song.
The trend only continues with "Burn Out Brighter (Northern Lights), "Younglife" and "Haight St" (is that really how it's spelled?). For me, these pleasant and harmless tracks remind me of those of the pop/punk stalwarts pioneered by New Found Glory, mastered by The Early November and popularized by The Plain White T's. If you love the genre, then you have great tastes in music and you'll greatly appreciate these tracks. If you're one of the many haters of the genre and its perceived unoriginality, then you might want to stick to "Cities."
"Misearbile Visu (Ex Malo Bonum), which is Latin and I'm told translates to "Terrible by the Sight (Good Out of Evil)," is epic, but starts off rather slow and generally uneven, only finding its footing after three minutes. It's an overall great close for the album, as it generally fits Anberlin's sound for the album, new and different.
The only track I really found fault with was "Soft Skeletons," which had a good message of 'turn away from drugs,' which might speak to some, but it comes off so terribly cliched in a bad way. The message is so overdone, as you can find it in plenty of Seven Day Slumber songs, the song comes off incredibly preachy and boring. It might just be Anberlin's worst song, not counting any of their covers or secondary songs.
So overall, Anberlin tries hard with this record, they try hard to please, they try to grow and expand, and whether they try too hard is up to you. I generally liked the record, and would probably name it Anberlin's best. Longtime fans on the other hand will probably be lost and confused, while others will eventually grow to liking the new sounds. In either case, like spinach, you have to try it at least once, and I highly recommend doing so.
Note: I tried to put all bias aside, as they're based out of Winter Haven, FL, where I was born, and lived thirty minutes from most of my life. So they're basically my hometown band, but you might have heard that before.
Anberlin's "New Surrender": A Review| Posted September 26, 2008
by Camaren Stebila
In 2007 Anberlin caught the music world off guard. Surpassing their previous two releases, “Cities” was their most mature, insightful and memorable album to date. Critics raved, fans praised, major labels paid due attention, and early in 2008 the group announced a signing with Universal Records. While the move seemed somewhat sudden, it was long overdue, as only a label such as Universal could bring the resources and publicity that could realize the full potential of Anberlin.
Expectations for “New Surrender” are of the highest caliber. “Could they really outdo ‘Cities’?,” “Could such a CD be written, recorded, produced, and released less than a year and a half later?,” “What sort of effect would their signing with Universal have on their sound?” And although so little time has passed since their previous release, their fourth, and first major label, record “New Surrender” indeed lives up to the hype.
Opening with the rather intense “The Resistance” fans will be reminded of why they fell in love with the band in the first place. Following is the equally powerful “Breaking”, its verses and choruses mixed with emotionally soaked vocals, driving riffs, and heart wrenching lyrics. A fan favorite “the Feel Good Drag” which made its initial appearance on their sophomore effort “Never Take Friendship Personal” has been re-recorded, and although it will be debated for better or worse, brings a fresh take on the four year old song.
The album’s ballads are stellar, and the quasi-title track “Breath” is bound to keep even the newest listeners singing along. Continuing with highlights: the anthem-styled single “Disappear,” the slightly radio friendly “Haight Street,” and the depressed yet hopeful “Soft Skeleton,” which tells the story of a young women bound by a drug laced lifestyle further solidify an already solid album. As with the final tracks on the last two records, “Dance Dance Christa Paffgen” and “*Fin,” “New Surrender” closes with the epic six an half minute “Miserabile visu (ex malo bonum)”
Although there were a few moments which produced a nostalgic longing for the more epic “Cities,” with an array of well-crafted tracks “New Surrender” can stand on its own. A sort of spirituality penetrates the disc, and will be refreshing to many who tire of the music scene’s typical topics. If anyone has yet to jump on the Anberlin bandwagon the time is now, it’s taking off at full speed, and doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon.
This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from The Christian Manifesto. Click here to visit TheChristianManifesto.com today!
Anberlin's Surrender on the lyrics continues| Posted October 06, 2008
It’s pretty safe to say that Anberlin make a big impact with their breakout release Cities. The band took it up a notch to create something new, yet with an uncanny sense of maturity behind the alternative music. The change caught many eyes. It caught fans attention in a big way because it sold 34,000 copies of their album in the first week. Second it caught the eyes of mangers of tours that soon set up Anberlin to open for successful mainstream bands like My Chemical Romance, Simple Plan, and Fall out Boy. The it caught the eyes of the big secular Universal label, leaving behind Tooth and Nail records behind because “there was no way to get our music to all the people we wanted to reach” (says lead singer Stephan Christian).
With dumping Tooth and Nail behind and star producer Aaron Sprinkle, Anberlin apparently decided to get rid off of their old bio which contained quotes about the bands Christian roots and beliefs for a new bio which is more professional and much more secular leaving no indication to those passing by to read what the band is about. Such drastic changes suggest that what Christian means when he says “reaching people” could mean obtaining popularity for earthly means. On the off chance he is talking about reaching people with Anberlin’s lyrics, which would be strange statement that doesn’t line up with Anbelins declining strong moral messages.
However not much has changed much about the music, that is to say they are as good as ever. Anberlin still brings their A-game in alternative rock and it still runs along the same lines but New Surrender incorporated a more electronic music instead of a more organic feel that fueled Cites (the change isn’t bad, but it’s different). The album’s first single, “feel good drag” is really a slightly mixed version of the original song released first on Anberlin’s sophomore album, Never take Friendship Personal; The intense rock song is phenomenal from the aggressive electric guitar intro to Christian’s vocals which he takes up to the next level. The rock tracks stand out more on New Surrender, possibly because of the increase of ballads, so when “disappear” appears, it stands out as a harder rock song than “feel good drag” but not quite as smooth; Another thing about “disappear” is that Christian’s vocals does a small dose of screaming and his voice is very moody.
The mellow rock song “breathe” uses the electronic sound well, plus the emotion is high though the tone of the vocals is a little moody, and the heavy ballad, “breaking” contains a hint of electronic music and the tune is slightly reminiscent. But Anberlin does serve up big guitar riffs in “Haight Street”, a song which doesn’t sound too much like an alternative song but it holds more of a party atmosphere. The times where Anberlin sounds off is on “younglife” which features an odd alterative pop tune, and while it’s original it doesn’t quite fit the feel of the album plus unusual pop tune “Blame me! Blame me!” doesn’t have any intensity that the title would suggest. “Soft skeletons” is a great example of the maturity that Anberlin has because every stage of the melancholy light rock song follows a great formula. For any further proof look no farther than the last and most artistic song "Miserabile Visu (ex Malo Bonum)".
The issue is not the music of this album or even in any of Anberlin’s CDs, but it has been with their spiritually vague and occasionally disturbing lyrics. There is plenty on New Surrender that is though provoking, like “resistance” a song that deals with people coming together even against those who want “bring” and “take down” them; the only disturbing thing is the lack of sympathy towards the aggressive parties ‘You crash where you stand/You've got a riot on your hands…we set your walls to fire’. “Feel good drag” was edgy when it was first recorded and not much has changed ‘I'm here for you" she said/and we can stay for awhile,/my boyfriend's gone,/we can just pretend…Your lips/Your lies/Your lust/Like the devils in your hands’. “Disappear” is another disturbing song although the singer is looking not to be left along but ‘wait for me will you wait for me/with arms wide’.
The songs that deal with reminiscing are “retrace” and “young life”. The former suggests that the past is worth more to the singer than the present, and the latter fondly recollects staying up all night’ and ‘We would dance in your apartment/Til neighbors would knock on your door?’ and the desire to return to them. "Haight Street" promotes youth messing around without care for the future or consequence (‘Let's, you and me, make a night of it./Old enough to know, but too young to care.’) and although the man steps away from a bad relationship, “breaking” is about a girl who breaks hearts all the time and uses people. But good things do come up like “soft skeletons” which focuses on the destructiveness of drugs and the importance of a will to fight and “breathe” which could reflect Ephesians 4. “Burn out better” is really good but it only hints at what is worth living and dying for is (‘Live; I wanna live inspired./Die; I wanna die for something’) so that means the only real spiritual song is "Miserabile Visu (ex Malo Bonum)" which is about the end times.
Woven into the lyrics is angst, regret, despair, and poor relationships; not the kind of substance that is desirable among an album that already lacks a focus of God in the lyrics. Not that it should come as any surprise since Anberlin has hit the big time and there was nothing to indicate a reversal of what was already in past lyrics. New Surrender may be a slight degrade in terms of music but its mainly different and still top notch. Sadly that will be the standard on which Anberlin’s latest will be judged.
incredible| Posted February 01, 2009
okay, so this is my first review, so ill try to make it short.being a fan of anberlin since the beginning, i didnt know how to feel upon learning that they had been signed to a major. but let me tell you that any fears about where they would take their sound were bashed upon pressing play. this is the very best anberlin album to date. combining bits of their discography with a new energy and hints of indie rock, they have constructed yet another melodic rock masterpiece. everything you could possibly want from an anberlin album is present; loud guitars, awesome melodies, and heartbreaking lyrical content. a softer edge pokes its head from time to time, but those songs are simpy beautiful. though not nearly as dark and brooding as Cities, its is a perfect spring or summer album. in short, get this album.
Calm and Heavy| Posted October 23, 2009
The first record not from Tooth & Nail is pretty well-done. Though my problem is that there's just a bit too much the same from Cities. Plus the "Feel Good Drag" sounded way too similar than to the first version. But anyway this is an awesome album. For all you Anberlin fans that like hearing the same exact thing.
pretty good| Posted October 07, 2009
These guys really put it out there with their Cd New Surrender. I generally lean towards harder rock music but I've listened to them before and figured i would pick up one of htier Cds. I was impressed by the vocals and i was captivated. The whole Cd was great but the songs that really hit me were The Resistance, Miserabile Visu, and Burn Out Brighter. The only reason I did not give this Cd a 5 is because its not exactly my style. If you like a bit softer rock music this CD is perfect for you.
Anberlin Videos!!!!| Posted August 03, 2009
If you love Anberlin, you have to go here http://www.billboard.com/#/features/video-anberlin-does-danzig-talks-surrender-1003998950.story.. I just found a video of them performing their new song Breaking and doing an acoustic cover of Danzig’s song Mother… its amazing! Check it out!
New Surrender| Posted February 22, 2009
This is my favorite album from my favorite band. It's excellent, starting out with "The Resistance", a hard core song that starts out a bit weird, but gets better and better as they move into the killer chorus. "Feel Good Drag" is another great song, and is their most popular. This is a great album and I highly recommend it.
good good| Posted February 20, 2009
I'm very happy I got this album! Anberlin is an insanely talented band and I love listening to their music! 'Breathe' is an amazing song and I can't stop listening to 'the feel good drag' Its so well done and catchy as heck!